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Mobile wallet makeover positions Google higher in NFC race

Earlier this week, Google released a new cloud-based version of its Google Wallet app. The app now supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.

“What we’re trying to do is create a mobile wallet that works through multiple channels,” said Robin Dua, head of product management at Google Wallet.

“This builds on the momentum of the Google Wallet we continued to build on it,” he said.

“We now support all cards and this is a huge leap forward from a user standpoint.”

Mobile payment advancements
Google decided to make its mobile wallet universal after getting feedback and requests from its users.

Google Wallet is currently available on six devices from Sprint and Virgin Mobile, as well as the new Nexus 7 tablet.

The company has also partnered with more than 25 national retailers that offer the service.

Additionally, with MasterCard PayPass, consumers can pay for goods and services at more than 200,000 retail locations across the United States.

Other enhancements
Through the new revamp, consumers can remotely disable their mobile wallet app from their Google Wallet account on the Web.

Now, the Google Wallet app stores consumer payment cards on secure servers instead of in the secure storage area on a consumer’s device, per Mr. Dua.

In addition, a wallet ID – virtual card number – is stored in the secure storage area of the device, which is used to facilitate transactions at the point-of-sale.

There is also a dedicated mobile wallet PIN that prevents others from making payments using the app.

“We take security very seriously and continue the make enhancements to bolster security data,” Mr. Dua said. “It’s something that gives the user peace of mind.

Google has also changed the user interface of the app.

“We made it simple for people to add cards to the wallet,” Mr. Dua said. “We also adopted a new look and feel that’s very consistent with Google products.

We’re seeing a couple of trends in the market,” he said. “There will be a lot more NFC devices coming to market.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York